Columns
Residents' Association Image

Residents' Association

Helping ensure your amenity
Read more >>

Business in Southbank Image

Business in Southbank

Enjoy winter at Bluetrain
Read more >>

Owners Corporation Law Image

Owners Corporation Law

A siren song calling for fair play
Read more >>

Montague Community Alliance

Understanding our history
Read more >>

Federal Politics Image

Federal Politics

Defending human rights
Read more >>

We Live Here Image

We Live Here

Flammable cladding: residents ignored
Read more >>

Southbanker Image

Southbanker

A sound love of life
Read more >>

History Image

History

Police Stables - Mounted Branch
Read more >>

Yarra River Business Association Image

Yarra River Business Association

Looking for the reset button for river businesses
Read more >>

Skypad Living Image

Skypad Living

Safe and secure in our vertical villages
Read more >>

Health and Wellbeing Image

Health and Wellbeing

Injury, see your GP and be your best!
Read more >>

Councillor Profile Image

Councillor Profile

The making of a lord mayor
Read more >>

Pets Corner Image

Pets Corner

Doggie Dollar
Read more >>

Southbank Fashion Image

Southbank Fashion

Spring racing in Southbank
Read more >>

Street Smarts Image

Street Smarts

Power Street – Southbank
Read more >>

Owners corporation law

14 May 2015

Owners’ corporations are a powerful democratic force – if only they knew.

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again – it is well worthwhile and overdue for an in-depth analysis of owners’ corporations from policy analysts in the government sector on the affordability, sustainability, amenity, privacy and livability of persons and communities living together in high-rise towers.

We have all seen the cranes around town, and the real estate advertisements in the papers – Melbourne has a glut of residential apartment buildings, with many more on the way.

For too long, the government policy in this area went too far in favour of developers, leading to the creation of those shoebox 30sqm apartments with little or no natural light. In some extreme circumstances, developers would assign long-term management rights agreements to themselves, their friends or subsidiary companies they control and for un-commercial terms and remuneration.

We saw in the latest round of state elections late last year, that the City of Melbourne seat became a closely-run contest between Labor and the Greens. In the lead-up to that election, both candidates pledged sweeping reforms in key areas of concern for owners’ corporations.

However, as is often the case, once governments are formed and agendas are set, things move fairly slowly. It is time for owners’ corporations throughout Melbourne to form a cohesive, committed and effective lobbying group, and to open the lines of communication with the political sphere.

Take for example – the short-term letting issue in Victoria. There has been much media attention about an owner’s right to let or license their apartment for short-term stays.  However, any reform in this area will take years – despite the recommendations that will come out of the working party formed for this inquiry.

In 2014, Airbnb, the giant accommodation service provider, raised $800 million US in venture capital, the majority of which it has pledged to spend on securing and shoring up their business model. Airbnb will spend hundreds of millions this year on lobbyists, public relations firms, and on teams of lawyers whose sole aim will be to ensure that Airbnb is neither legislated against nor otherwise outlawed. In addition, the business giant will bombard the public with soft advertising campaigns, sponsorship deals, fundraising initiatives and other types of marketing in the UK, Europe, South America and Australia.

Any owner or resident living in a tower that struggles with the effects of short-term letting will shortly not have an effective and audible voice in this campaign, and will not be able to raise their voice above the cacophony of the lobbyists and slick PR machines that Airbnb and others employ to scream at the policymakers and politicians.

The question is – can the owners’ corporations of Victoria band together as a unified voice on this topic and others, and in time to make a difference?

As a single block of voters comprising may thousand residents, the owners’ corporation ‘vote’ can and would make a difference to the outcome of any election in this state.

It is a pity there is not another election anytime soon.

Stay in touch with Southbank. Subscribe to FREE monthly e-Newspaper.

You must be registered with Southbank Local News to be able to post comments.
To register, please click here.